Kerry Washington reveals she contemplated suicide over eating disorder

‘There seemed to be no escape from the demons,’ the actor shared

Kerry Washington opened up to Robin Roberts in a new 20/20 special, detailing her long battle with an eating disorder and how it led her to contemplate suicide.

In the interview, Washington said she developed an eating disorder as a teenager and continued struggling for many years. “I was very ashamed of it,” she explained. “I didn’t want to talk about it.”

By the time Washington went to college, her eating disorder had become a vicious cycle of “abuse that utilized the tools of starvation, binge eating, body obsession, and compulsive exercise.”

“I could feel how the abuse was a way to really hurt myself as if I didn’t want to be here. It scared me that I could not want to be here because I was in so much pain,” she said.

According to the National Eating Disorders Association, about 30 million people suffer from eating disorders. Washington eventually sought help for her eating disorder and she is now in recovery. She hopes telling her story will help others struggling with eating disorders and suicidal thoughts.

“The first time that I actually got on my knees and prayed to some power greater than myself to say, like, ‘I can’t do this; I need some help,’ was with my eating disorder,” she said. “The behavior was just so abusive toward myself with food, with exercise, with starving -- with bingeing, with — it just was — I could not control it.”

“I want people to know that there is help available,” Washington added. “You don’t have to go through this alone.”

If you are struggling with an eating disorder or suicidal thoughts, don’t hesitate to call the National Alliance for Eating Disorders (The Alliance) at 866-662-1235 or The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255.

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